Techniques used for the tummy tuck procedure
For some people, it is impossible to get a firm and flat tummy even after spending long hours at the gym or struggling with a new diet every month. It is important to remember that some aesthetic issues can only be corrected with the help of a plastic surgeon. For example, the case of the apron belly. And the solution to that is a simple one: a tummy tuck surgery!
The abdominal plasty is for patients who wish to achieve a flat tummy when all other methods fail. The “abdominoplasty”, the medical term for the tummy tuck, refers to an aesthetic surgery intervention performed in the abdominal area.
In our time, there are many techniques used to perform the tummy tuck procedure. Choosing between one method and the other is done with the guidance of your plastic surgeon.
More about the tummy tuck surgery
There are many causes behind the unpleasant appearance of the abdominal area. Among them, we can mention multiple pregnancies, weight fluctuation and even medical conditions such as umbilical hernias and diastasis recti.
The procedure has a strong medical indication behind it if the patient presents saggy skin in the abdomen. The skin folds can descend towards the pubic area and even cover it partially or completely. This is most common in the cases of patients who underwent bariatric surgery for weight loss purposes. The tummy tuck is not a treatment for obesity or a method used to lose weight, but it is definitely an efficient procedure to improve the aspect of the body after the weight loss occurred.
For many people, the tummy tuck is the miracle solution that will remove their stretch marks. The reality is that stretch marks can’t be corrected with a tummy tuck. Of course, due to the surgical excision of the skin, some stretch marks (those that are located under the belly button and on the excised skin) will be removed. But if the patient has stretch marks above the belly button, chances are, they will not be affected by the plastic surgery intervention. There are other treatments to try to minimize stretch marks or reduce their visibility, but the tummy tuck is not one of them.
Before discussing the tummy tuck technique, let’s see what happens that causes the need for it in the first place.
At the base, the tummy and the abdominal walls are made out of muscles and a thin layer of fat. With time and the occurrence of other factors such as pregnancies, weight fluctuations, among other things, this adipose layer accumulates more fat. The tummy increases its volume, and the fat is distended. After a certain stage, the skin loses its elasticity and its ability to retract to its original appearance.
With the abdominoplasty, we aim to remove excess skin and fat tissue that is located in the lower part of the abdomen. The skin will tighten after the procedure is performed and the tummy will look firm and flat. The tummy tuck is often performed in association with a liposuction. This will be the case when the adipose tissue on the belly is of a significant amount, and it can be reduced using liposuction.
When you are trying to achieve a more curvaceous body and an improved silhouette, the Hourglass tummy tuck is the best solution for you. In this procedure that I created and developed over the years, fat is extracted during liposuction and then reinjected into the hips to give it more volume. It means that aside from the benefits of the traditional tummy tuck, the patient will also enjoy the benefits of undergoing liposuction and fat transfer to the hips. The aesthetic results are much better compared to the ones achieved after a simple traditional tummy tuck.
Overview of the techniques used for the tummy tuck procedure
The tummy tuck is a surgical intervention that is performed to remove the excess skin and fat tissues from the middle and inferior part of the abdomen. During the procedure, the plastic surgeon will also strengthen the abdominal wall muscles and if present, correct an umbilical hernia. When done correctly and by a board-certified and experienced plastic surgeon, the tummy tuck will significantly improve the contours of the patient’s silhouette, and the final result will be a flat and toned abdomen.
There are two main types of tummy tuck techniques that can be used: the mini tummy tuck (also called the partial abdominoplasty) and the complete tummy tuck. If the patient has excess skin at the inferior abdomen only, the partial tummy tuck is enough. In this case, the recovery period is faster, the scarring is negligible, and there is no need to reposition the belly button. But if the patient has sagginess of fat and skin tissues in the entire abdominal area, undergoing the complete abdominoplasty is recommended. Even if it requires a more ample incision, usually placed along the lower part of the abdomen and another incision around the navel, the complete tummy tuck delivers spectacular results when compared to the partial tummy tuck.
As we have mentioned above, the complete tummy tuck entails two surgical incisions. One will be performed along the inferior part of the abdomen, in between the two bones of the hips and the second one around the belly button. The length of the first incision is directly dependent on the amount of skin and fat tissue to be removed. The second incision is necessary to allow the plastic surgeon to reposition the belly button in its correct anatomical position.
After the incision is performed, the skin and fat are lifted from the abdominal wall, and the vertical abdominal muscles are exposed. In many cases, the muscles are stretched and separated (in medical terms this condition is called “diastasis recti”). The plastic surgeon will then suture the loose abdominal muscles to be able to tone the abdomen. The excess skin is excised, and the navel is repositioned. The incisions are closed with sutures with the purpose of minimization of the scars.
When a patient needs a complete tummy tuck, liposuction is often performed to reduce the thickness of the adipose layer on the tummy. Many people ask why not just use liposuction to re-contour the abdomen and not perform the tummy tuck anymore. This is not possible when the patient has excess skin at the abdominal area, as the result would be even more sagginess that would be very difficult to hide under clothes.
The intervention for the complete tummy tuck lasts between 2-5 hours, depending on the complexity of each case and whether it was associated with liposuction and the fat transfer to the hips. The complete tummy tuck is often performed under general anesthesia for the comfort of the patient.
The patient will notice that after surgery, two drain tubes will be left near the incision site. It is necessary in helping drain the blood and other fluids that could otherwise accumulate at the incision site and cause complications. The drain tubes are usually kept for up to 3-4 days or until the leakage stops.
The discomfort and pain that can be experienced after the complete tummy tuck are easily managed with the help of pain medications that will be prescribed by the plastic surgeon. Regular activities can be resumed within two weeks from the procedure.
The mini tummy tuck
This technique is recommended for patients who have a surplus of saggy skin at the lower part of the abdomen only. During the tummy tuck, the plastic surgeon will only work on the tissues under the belly button. The incision will be placed over the pubic area, and it is often hidden by the panty line. The intervention takes no longer than 1-2 hours, and it can also be associated with liposuction and the fat transfer to the hips for superior aesthetic results. The recovery period after the mini tummy tuck is shorter. Usually, the patient can resume their daily activities within a week after the procedure.
As it is the case with many plastic surgery interventions, the tummy tuck surgery is not a one-size-fits-all procedure. It can be performed in association with liposuction or fat transfer to the hips for superior aesthetic results and also with other procedures, depending on the recommendations of the plastic surgeon.
The procedure aims to provide the patient with a flat and firm abdominal area by excising the surplus skin and fat tissues in the abdomen. The abdominoplasty is recommended when there is a considerable amount of sagginess of the skin in the abdomen. There are two main techniques used when performing this procedure: the complete tummy tuck and the mini tummy tuck. The plastic surgeon will recommend which of these two procedures is suitable to help you achieve your aesthetic goals.